Footwear industry launches new manufacturing apprenticeship

March 22, 2019 0 By HearthstoneYarns

The British Footwear Association has announced the launch of a new
nationally accredited apprenticeship standard, which will be available to
companies and new entrants to the industry from autumn 2018.

The new apprenticeship has been designed by employers to be flexible,
making it accessible for all footwear businesses from the smallest
specialist maker to the largest manufacturer, while offering high-quality
entry-level training and experience to those interested in joining the
“highly skilled” footwear industry.

Created in association with the Institute for Apprenticeships, the
scheme will last between 12 and 15 months, with typical day-to-day duties
including cutting materials, skiving, sewing, forming the footwear,
attaching the sole and finishing the footwear.

Firms involved in developing the standard includes Loake Brothers, New
Balance, Hotter, Church’s, Dr. Martens, Crockett and Jones, Trickers,
International Dance Shoes, Gaziano and Girling and Joseph Cheaney and Sons.

Stephen Bent, UK production manager for Dr Martens, said in a press
release: “This is a great industry that offers more career opportunities
than people realise. We need supervisors, managers, and skilled makers like
clickers and closers going forwards.

“This scheme provides a hands on, earn while you learn option. We wanted
to create a scheme which, no matter which firm you had your apprenticeship
with, the skills, knowledge and understanding you gain will be of relevance
to any employers so a qualified apprentice will be a very employable
person.”

British footwear industry develops new nationally accredited
apprenticeship

Potential recruits should approach the company they wish to work for
directly or formally register interest with Northampton College, West
Lancashire College or London Capel Manor College.

Robert Perkins, British Footwear Association board member and chief
operating officer at Hotter, the UK’s largest footwear manufacturer, added:
“We want to offer a high-quality entry point to new recruits in a role that
opens the door to a career in production and shoe-making. There is a great
appetite to grow UK production and developing our skill base is crucial to
our future.”

There are around 30 larger factories and 80 to 100 smaller specialist
businesses manufacturing and making shoes in the UK, notes the British
Footwear Association, which collectively manufactured around 6 million
pairs of shoes in 2017, with a value of 400 million pounds, up from 5.6
million in 2016. The manufacturing part of the footwear industry employs
4,000 people, approximately half of those are footwear manufacturers.

British Footwear Association, chief executive John Saunders said:
“International interest in British made footwear has never been higher. It
is vital for future success that this sector’s unique making skills are
protected and developed.
“Additionally, there are firms that wish to expand production, so this
collective effort on training will ensure that all manufacturing businesses
are able to offer the kind of nationally approved and formal training we
haven’t seen for some time in the UK.”

Image: via British Footwear Association website – Adele
Wiliamson/Trickers